"I Was Never Meant to Fly": Exploring the Visual Narratives of Black Girls in Marvel Comics

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Teaching superhero graphic novels in critical ways can push against the "canonizing forces" that marginalize students' interests and voices in school curriculum while potentially upholding oppressive ideologies. Black women characters are often overlooked, oversexualized, and written as one-dimensional compared to their male and white counterparts. In entertainment and literature, we see few Black women characters that have depth, reflection, and development. I investigate ways of knowing and viewing the black girl lived experiences via Marvels Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Shuri and the Ironheart series. Representation matters in all media forms. These Marvel series provide a captivating study into the marginalization of black women in traditional comic writing (Moeller, 2018). I utilize Black Girl Literacies (Muhammad & Haddix, 2016) and Critical Race Content Analysis (Huber, Gonzalez, & Solórzano, 2020), to explore how visual representations of black women are interpreted, coded, and comprehended across genres and mediums. I also use the framework of mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors (Bishop, 2012) to analyze the use of diverse comics and graphic novels to facilitate critical conversations.


Poster Division: Arts, Humanities, and Education and Human Ecology: 2nd Place (The Ohio State University Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum)


Black girls, comics, literacy, literature, STEM